I can not find my original will and my lawyer has retired. I do have a copy of this will. Would that be good enough if I died.

Asked over 1 year ago - Portchester, NY

Would NYS Probate Court accept a copy instead of the original?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Michael Evan Greenspan

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . You really don't want to leave your heirs in the position of having to worry about whether a Surrogate's Court will admit a copy of the Will to probate. Your prior attorney may have filed the original will with the Surrogate's Court in White Plains (assuming that you reside in Westchester County). Check with the Court and see.

    Please also consider taking your copy of the Will to a new attorney -- I can refer you to some excellent ones here in the White Plains area. The attorney can explain what related documents that you should have prepared such as a health care proxy and power of attorney etc that will be very important to have in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions on your own.

    There are also Medicare considerations that need to be properly explained to you. Depending upon the nature and extent of your assets, you may require a number of steps to be taken to minimize the tax burden on your heirs. A good trusts and estates attorney who also has experience in elder law issues can guide you through these very complicated issues.

  2. Richard Albert Luthmann

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . You should go to a new attorney and get a will executed right away. You can have your new attorney keep the new will in a will vault or you can have the document filed with the Surrogate's Court.

    This answer is made for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that... more
  3. Arthur Harold Geffen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Copies of wills are always a problem. If you can't locate the original, then take your copy to a new lawyer and have them do another one with the same provisions. It probably needs to be updated anyway.

    Hope this helps. If you think this post was helpful, please check the answer was a good answer tab below. Thanks.... more
  4. Maria C. Tebano

    Contributor Level 15

    6

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    Answered . That will not be good enough when you die. You need the original Will for probate purposes. As the previous poster indicated, hire a new attorney, prepare a new Will revoking all prior Wills and have that attorney hold the original in a safe. Alternatively, you could keep the original in a safety deposit bank or a safe of your own.

  5. Sharon Melissa Siegel

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . While a copy of a will is probatable in most circumstances, the legal fees of a cost of a proceeding to admit a copy to probate far outweighs the cost of having a new will prepared. I agree with the prior posts, have the will redone and stored in the attorney's fire proof vault.

  6. Barry K. Fine

    Contributor Level 2

    2

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    Answered . I agree with the advice to re-do your will. It's easy enough and you'll insure that your heirs won't have that issue to deal with.

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